The woman who allegedly confessed to committing an unsolved murder more than nine years ago appeared in Camden County Circuit Court this week asking for a new judge.
Clara J. Rector, 36, was charged with murder earlier this year after allegedly confessing to the April 28, 2004 murder of 48-year-old Tommy Hope.
Rector's request was granted by the court. Her case will be transferred from Circuit Court Judge Stan Moore to Judge Ken Hayden.
Rector was arraigned in circuit court in August after waiving her right to a preliminary hearing in July.
Rector was originally taken into custody on April 21 on stalking and harassment charges not associated with the homicide by officers the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Camden County Sheriff's Department and Camdenton Police Department. The stalking and harassment charges stemmed from Rector's interactions with a pastor. It was during questioning that she allegedly confessed to the 2004 murder.
Hope's body was discovered at 6:30 a.m. April 29, 2004 lying on the floor of his home on First Street in Camdenton covered in blood. An autopsy performed at Southwest Missouri Forensics in Springfield indicated eight stab wounds to Hope's torso and left arm and a laceration along his neck.
Rector was questioned in April and May 2004 in connection with Hope's death, but investigators were unable to establish a connection between Rector and the crime.
During questioning in 2004, Rector admitted to using illegal substances with Hope and to being at his home prior to Hope's death. DNA tests backed up Rector's statement, but the case grew cold and investigators made no arrests in the case.
In a confession to detectives nine years later on April 22, 2013, Rector admitted to having an affair with Hope. According to the probable cause statement, Rector indicated she went to Hope's home on the evening of April 24, 2004 to obtain and use drugs.
Rector allegedly became upset with Hope when he did not save any drugs for her and grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen. Rector stabbed Hope during what she described as a confrontation between the two of them.
Years later, Rector became the author of a Christian blog and turned to local media to warn people of the dangers of unchecked drug use.
Rector is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She is being held in the Camden County Adult Detention Facility. Bond has been denied.